08 Feb Teaching English in Israel ‘Fun and Rewarding’
Teaching English in Israel ‘Fun and Rewarding’
Justin from Michigan is having a great time making an impact on his young Israeli students and the wider Beit She’an community as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow.
Justin, 23, from West Bloomfield, Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2021 having studied History and Spanish. He planned to be a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow that fall but was significantly injured, requiring him to delay his participation in the program until he recovered. Now, as a 2022-23 Fellow, Justin is enjoying every second of his experience.
The Jewish Agency’s Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) program is a 10-month fellowship for post-college graduates (21-35) who want to make a difference by teaching English to children in the socio-economic periphery of Israel while immersing themselves in Israeli society.
“I decided to take part in MITF in order to make a difference in a country I‘ve always felt connected to while simultaneously taking a gap year before attending law school. I studied multiple languages in college, which made me appreciate the power and freedom that knowing another language offers. So teaching English sounded like a great opportunity,” explained Justin.
Before coming to Israel, Justin was nervous about not being able to speak too much Hebrew, but that worry has been alleviated through his participation in Ulpan (Hebrew language) classes.
“Thanks to MITF, I feel much more at home in Israel and less like a tourist,” said Justin. “I am becoming more educated about the country itself, and getting a better grasp of its language as I have been learning Hebrew, too.”
Currently based in Beit She’an in northern Israel, Justin has a host family that he goes to for Shabbat and holidays, which is especially meaningful to him given his background.
“Growing up, my family hosted Israelis who came to our community in America,” Justin said. “So being hosted here in Israel by a family gives me a different perspective and allows me to value that experience in a new way. From setting up the Sukkah to watching soccer games with some of the kids in the host family, I am grateful to have been paired with them.”
During the rest of the week, Justin teaches mainly fourth, fifth and sixth graders, seeing the effects of his work firsthand as students progress in their English skills, and also his impact on the larger community.
“MITF offers its participants the opportunity to change a community for the better. Not just as English Fellows in the schools, but also through our volunteering opportunities that affect the whole community,” Justin shared. “Working in an Israeli school is a lot of fun and rewarding. Plus, these 10 months allow you to develop yourself as a person and make great friends. I am having a great time and so happy I was able to be a part of MITF.“